ACI launches new guidance on developing airport cargo operations

The intention of the advice is to enable airports to better understand and identify opportunities for development of cargo strategies  

Airports Council International (ACI) World has published a report to help airport operators develop successful cargo strategies that can, according to the organisation, “contribute to the sustained recovery of the industry by developing alternative revenue streams.” 

The report has been prepared in collaboration with Netherlands Airport Consultants (NAC) and InterVISTAS, a management consulting company with expertise in aviation, transportation and tourism. The guide has also had inputs from global airports and cargo industry experts.  

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Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic air cargo has seen continued growth, with ICAO reporting that by the end of 2020 the number of cargo flights operated globally had grown by 2.74% year-over-year, even while the number of air travellers dropped by a staggering 98% in the initial response to the outbreak, leading to lost revenues for airlines and airports alike.  

Luis Felipe de Oliveira, ACI World director general, said: “As airports come out of the pandemic and look to ensure long-term financial sustainability through the diversification of their revenue streams, cargo is an important area to be explored. A clear cargo strategy will help further airports’ understanding of the current landscape and opportunities, as well as build a robust business plan for the future.” 

The published guidance highlights the importance of analysing current data, developing a clear cargo vision and cargo master plan and ensuring the capabilities and infrastructure are in place to create a lasting benefit.  

Oliviera added: “Cargo continues to be critical to global recovery through the supply of goods – such as medicine, medical equipment, and most recently, vaccines – and playing a key role in supporting the communities we serve. We believe that having a long-term strategy is crucial to inform infrastructure investment and guide operations improvement – allowing airports to collaborate effectively, deliver value and drive positive impact.”